Postgame Points: Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 6
Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick takes a look at the Ole Miss Postgame Points, examining five takeaways from the Rebels’ most recent football game. Here are his Postgame Points from the win over Vanderbilt.
1. Homecoming Domination
Ole Miss claimed an emphatic 31-6 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels improve to 3-3, 2-1 SEC, while the Commodores fall to 1-4, 0-3 SEC. Ole Miss now leads the all-time series against Vanderbilt 50-40-2, and the Rebels have won 8 straight Homecoming contests.
The Homecoming domination was the result of Ole Miss playing outstanding on both sides of the ball on Saturday. The offense racked up 512 yards of total offense and ran the ball at will against a Vanderbilt defense that had no answers. The defense completely shut down the Vanderbilt ground game and limited the Commodores through the air. Ole Miss allowed Vanderbilt to reach the red zone just once in the game and kept the Commodores out of the endzone all night.
2. Rushing Attack
The Ole Miss rushing attack put up monster numbers against Vanderbilt. The Rebels rumbled for 413 yards and 4 scores on the ground.
Ole Miss ran the ball 44 times and averaged an astounding 9.4 yards per run. Those numbers are tremendous against any opponent, but they look even better considering this came against an SEC defense.
The last time Ole Miss rushed for more yards in a game was 2010 when the Rebels rolled up 425 rushing yards in a 55-38 victory over Fresno State. The 413 yards on the ground were the most by Ole Miss against an SEC team since going for 443 against the Commodores in 1979.
Four Rebels did most of the damage against the Vanderbilt defense.
Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee gashed the Commodores for 165 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Jerrion Ealy ran for 97 yards and reached the endzone with a 78-yard scoring dash. Freshman Snoop Conner gained 91 yards and scored his first touchdown as a Rebel with an 84-yard run to paydirt. Senior Scottie Phillips rushed for 62 yards and capped the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
3. Cool Customer
Freshman John Rhys Plumlee was a cool customer in just the second start of his young career. The Rebel quarterback was efficient passing the ball against Vanderbilt. He completed 10 of 18 pass attempts for 99 yards and did not turn the ball over.
Plumlee showed his dual-threat ability with a brilliant day running the ball. He carried the ball 22 times for 165 yards and a touchdown against the Commodores. He averaged 7.5 yards per run and kept the Vanderbilt defense on its heels all night.
Plumlee has been quite impressive over the past two weekends. He makes good decisions with the ball and plays with a poise that is rarely seen in a freshman playing quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.
4. Run Defense
The run defense for Ole Miss was lights out once again in the win over Vanderbilt. The Rebels held the Commodores to 62 yards on the ground in 27 rushing attempts. Vanderbilt averaged 2.3 yards per run and scored no touchdowns. Star running back Ke’ Shawn Vaughn netted 69 yards on 18 rushes for an average of 3.8 yards per attempt.
This game marks the fourth time in six games that Ole Miss has held an opponent to 66 or fewer yards on the ground. The last time the run defense was this good was in 2008 when the Rebels held opponents under 100 yards rushing in 4 straight wins over Auburn, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, and Mississippi State. That 2008 unit stopped 7 of 13 opponents from reaching 100 rushing yards in a game.
Memphis and Alabama are the only teams to run for more than 100 yards against the Rebels this season. Through 6 contests, Ole Miss has allowed just 598 rushing yards (99.5 yards/game) and 5 touchdowns on the ground. By comparison, the 2008 Rebels that went 9-4 and won the Cotton Bowl gave up a mere 85.5 yards per game on the ground. Thus, it has been more than a decade since Ole Miss has been this stout in run defense for an extended stretch of games.
5. Defensive Standouts
There were a number of defensive standouts in the big 31-6 victory over Vanderbilt. The Rebel defense limited the Commodores to 264 yards of total offense on 73 plays. Vanderbilt averaged just 3.6 yards per play and scored 6 points on a pair of first-half field goals. It is the fewest points allowed by Ole Miss since a 23-3 win over Texas A&M (2015) in Oxford.
The Rebels registered 9 tackles for loss, broke up 7 passes, and had 3 sacks against the Commodores. Lakia Henry, Brenden Williams, Austrian Robinson, and Benito Jones were the Rebels who recorded a sack on Saturday.
Henry paced the defense with a career-high 15 tackles, while Jones added 4 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 4 quarterback hurries. As well, Jacquez Jones and Jaylon Jones were among the top Rebel tacklers with 9 and 7 stops, respectively.
Ole Miss turned in its best effort of the season defending the pass against the Commodores. Vanderbilt completed only 25 of 46 pass attempts for 202 yards and no scores. Ole Miss stuffed the run and forced Vanderbilt to throw the ball, much like what Purdue did to the Commodores in early September. Vanderbilt found little success through the air, completing 54.3 percent of its pass attempts. For Ole Miss, it is the lowest completion percentage allowed since holding Mississippi State to a 43.8 percent completion rate in the 2017 Egg Bowl win. As well, 2017 was the last time the Rebels allowed no passing touchdowns in a game (Louisiana-Lafayette).
Finally, the defense was able to get off the field when necessary. The Commodores found success on just 2 of 17 third-down conversion attempts in the game. That is a great recipe for winning SEC games and reaching bowl eligibility.
Ole Miss heads to Columbia, Missouri for a Saturday night showdown with the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field. Mizzou enters the game at 4-1, 1-0 SEC with wins over West Virginia and South Carolina and a loss to Wyoming. Ole Miss and Missouri have met just once since the Tigers joined the SEC, with Mizzou defeating the Rebels 24-10 in 2013 in Oxford. Missouri leads the all-time series with Ole Miss 6-1 and has won 5 straight in the series. The last time these teams played in Columbia was in 2006 when the Tigers prevailed 34-7. The lone victory for Ole Miss against Mizzou was a 10-0 decision in 1974 in Jackson, Mississippi.
Jeff is a college sports fanatic who was able to recognize many D1 team logos by kindergarten. Growing up, Jeff played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track/cross country. Jeff’s love for college sports was expanded while running track/cross country at Indiana University, where he earned a General Education degree and attended every sporting event possible when not running for the Hoosiers. A proud parent and husband, Jeff resides in Oxford. His wife is an Ole Miss graduate, and Jeff has a year of post-graduate studies at Ole Miss under his belt. Jeff and his family can be found at just about any Ole Miss sporting event throughout the year. Jeff follows the idea of God, Family/Friends, and Football as a way of life. Writing about Ole Miss sports plays to Jeff’s love affair with collegiate athletics perfectly!